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09/20/2011

Alabama law enforcement committee receives ICE partnership award

MOBILE, Ala. - Leaders of the Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee (LECC) for the Southern District of Alabama were selected as this year's winners of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Exemplary Partnership Award. ICE HSI announced the award during this year's annual manager's meeting on Sept. 13.

The LECC boasts a membership of more than700 and includes almost every federal agency head, chief, and sheriff in Alabama's Mobile and Baldwin counties, as well as state and local agency leaders from surrounding counties.

"Unlike any other district, the cooperation among agencies is nothing short of astounding. Member participation during monthly meetings is routinely standing room only and the work of the LECC is absolutely remarkable," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of ICE HSI in New Orleans. "The forum provides ongoing situational awareness, critical information sharing and agency perspectives on current, relevant law enforcement operations."

Individuals receiving awards were:

  • Kenyen Brown, U.S. Attorney, Southern District of Alabama, United States Attorney's Office
  • John Cherry, Chief - Criminal Division, Southern District of Alabama, U.S. Attorney's Office
  • Tommy Loftis, Law Enforcement Coordinator, Southern District of Alabama, U.S. Attorney's Office
  • Sam Cochran, Sheriff, Mobile County Sheriff's Office

In mid-1981, the Attorney General's Task Force on Violent Crime specifically recommended that each U.S. Attorney establish an LECC. The bipartisan taskforce included eight distinguished national criminal justice experts who closely examined federal, state, and local enforcement needs. The recommendation to establish LECCs came as a direct result of the group's finding that federal, state, and local law enforcement cooperation was crucial but that cooperation nationwide was uneven, ranging from good to nonexistent.

The LECC in the Southern District of Alabama is the nerve center of law enforcement operations for federal, state, and local agencies within Mobile and Baldwin counties.

When ICE HSI proposed establishing a Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST) at the Port of Mobile, the LECC was the forum to solicit partner support. According to Scherry Douglas, assistant special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Mobile, the support pledged by the U.S. Attorney to LECC members proved to be the catalyst for the overwhelming response received for membership in the now thriving Gulf Coast BEST.

The BEST concept is a Department of Homeland Security initiative designed to identify, disrupt, and dismantle dangerous transnational crime posing a threat to the United States. The Port of Mobile team consists of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Mobile County Sheriff's Office, Baldwin County Sheriff's Office, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Transportation Support Administration (TSA), Mobile Police Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Mobile Port Authority, and the Alabama Marine Police.

"The LECC Southern District of Alabama has proven to be an excellent vehicle for pulling law enforcement agencies together to more effectively combat crime in the southern region of Alabama," said Parmer. "As a native Mobilian, I'm particularly pleased to see the level of cooperation among law enforcement agencies in south Alabama recognized on a national level. The U.S. Attorney's Office and Sheriff Cochran epitomize the concept of homeland security beginning with hometown security, and I am genuinely grateful for their partnership." Parmer, based in New Orleans, oversees ICE HSI offices in five states, including Alabama.

For more information, visit www.ice.gov.